The New School Archives Digital Collections

Related people/organizations

Mimi Chan (designer)
Scott Paterson (thesis advisor)
Anezka Sebek (thesis advisor)
John Sharp (thesis advisor)




Abandoned is a video documentary that addresses the status of the unwanted pet population in New York City. The documentary attempts to uncover what causes animal abandonment, how animals are taken off the streets, and what happens to these animals when they are rescued. Abandoned highlights the tragedies and misfortunes of these animals to illustrate how humans are the cause of animal abandonment, and that human intervention is also the answer to solving the problem. Abandoned highlights different perspectives of individuals and organizations involved in animal care, rescue, and control, in efforts to document the different processes each organization endures to control the dilemma of pet abuse and animal abandonment. These organizations range from a small no-kill, volunteer run group, to a large well funded no-kill facility, to an advocacy group against animal cruelty and lastly, an animal shelter that controls the unadopted pet population through euthanasia. Euthanasia is the act or practice of ending a life through lethal injection.

The documentary also follows individuals involved in the issue such as animal activists, government officials, pet owners who have abandoned their pets, and potential owners who have or will adopt from shelters. My desire is to broadcast the video on Manhattan cable access television with the intention and potential to reach the largest viewing audience possible. Since millions of New Yorkers have access to public television stations, the notion that the video could broadcast on public access television provides an opportunity to reach millions of homes at the time of the broadcast. Some possible outcomes from viewing the documentary can be the following, first and foremost, an awareness of a problem, prevention of animal cruelty and abandonment, and to change the public’s perception and attitudes toward shelter animals. Shelter animals can be viewed as animals that are unwanted because of their behavior or breed, but in fact, most shelter animals are well behaved and are often times pure breeds. Documenting the animals in the shelter system demonstrates that the animals are desperate for a good home and that they are left there because of the lack of care from their owners. Utilizing the documentary form as a means for storytelling, this video is a voice and an advocate for the animals that suffer because of the hands of man.



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